Hours before the much anticipated BET Hip Hop awards – an event which consistently produces unique cyphers by both up comers and hip hop veterans – DJ Khaled confirmed (via Instagram) that Eminem would be performing in the coveted event.
The verse that ensued was not only up to the standard of his previous freestyles in 2009 and 2011, but also delivered a devastating monologue to President Trump. If you’ve been following Eminem since he came on to the scene, you’ll know that he’s been politically outspoken – almost always musically – since the Bush era. After giving Obama a ‘pass’, as it were, it appears Eminem is back on the political warpath.
It’s definitely worth watching the whole verse; delivered acapella, as Marshall tends to do when he really wants the focus to be on the lyrics – but here’s a few highlights:
Racism's the only thing he's fantastic for
'Cause that's how he gets his fuckin' rocks off and he's orange
Yeah, sick tan
In itself, a lovely double entendre relating to Trump’s complicity (and support) for the actions and rhetoric of neo-Nazi groups – while using The Thing as a persona comparison from the Marvel universe.
Plus, he gets an enormous reaction
When he attacks the NFL so we focus on that in–
–stead of talkin' Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada
In the age of ‘rapid media’, where narratives and stories tend to shift within 24 hours, Trump has exploited the very conglomerate attempting to smear him on numerous occasions. Simply causing another controversy before the current one gets out of hand has proved rather effective for The Donald – indeed, Eminem notes the relief in gun reform pressure following the ‘Take the Knee’ controversy.
And any fan of mine who's a supporter of his
I'm drawing in the sand a line, you're either for or against
And if you can't decide who you like more and you're split
On who you should stand beside, I'll do it for you with this:
Eminem’s denouncement of Trump and his supporters is a necessary move for a white artist. The necessary intersectional nature of the resistance to Trump (and the system which created him) means that we must have the coalition of races – rather than simply painting it as white vs black.
On a more critical note, Eminem does well to speak out, but quite simply, does not go far enough. While White America and Mosh were politically ‘woke’ anthems, the focus is on the person rather than the system. They were against Bush; this is against Trump. What happened during the years in between? Obama was bombing 7 countries simultaneously; police brutality was still occurring; and arguably, his Presidency created the conditions necessary for Trump’s rise.
While standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, there’s also significant praise for John McCain and a defiant “we love our military”. Naturally, liberals such as Keith Olbermann and Ellen Degeneres have latched onto the critique the same way they turned Kaepernick’s NFL protest into an anti-Trump statement. By not directly speaking out against the American Establishment, Eminem has made the same mistake as many have before – and in doing so, has diluted the effectiveness of his tirade.
Watch Eminem's epic cypher below: